From: Bettina Arndt [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, 23 September 2018 6:03 PM
Subject: Making Waves
Hi Everyone, Oh Boy, we are really on a roll here. My little campus tour is causing a bit of a stir.
I spent the whole week, with the help of various clever people, putting together a series of letters to Vice Chancellor Michael Spence asking firstly that he return the security fee to the students because the security guards were unable to control the unruly protesters.
But more importantly, I have asked that formal complaints be taken against key organisers of the protest. I have spelt out in detail the various codes of conduct and bullying/harassment policies breached by these organisers and provided abundant evidence, including video footage of these breaches. We have included witness statements from members of my audience who were bullied, abused and harassed by the protesters.
My new little video reveals who these key protesters are and gives a few glimpses of them in action. Plus shows you some of the relevant university regulations. https://youtu.be/IZLMRdGor88
This is designed just as a first stage. We are organising extensive media coverage regarding my request for action by the university and have plans to follow up, with legal action if necessary.
But for now I would be most grateful if you could circulate this video as widely as possible.
Note the sexy voice of my lovely man, who did the voice-over!
Now for some of the media coverage in the past week. By the way, we’d love to hear from you if you come across any media discussion/articles or programmes about my campus tour that we might have missed. Please send to this address – BettinaMedia@talkhub.com. We won’t be writing back to all of you – my email is out of control. But rest assured all contributions are most appreciated.
I’ll include the full text from some of the articles in The Australian because these are behind a paywall. Firstly a few paragraphs from an editorial in The Australian commenting a wonderful recent speech by former High Court chief justice Robert French:
No decent campus curtails the free exchange of ideas.
- The Australian 12:00AM SEPTEMBER 19, 2018
Justice French, we concur: universities are the last places where freedom of speech should be suppressed so readily. In an address reported yesterday, former High Court chief justice Robert French hints the attempt to shut down politically inconvenient speech on campus may meet a challenge invoking the Constitution’s implied freedom of communication. Free-spirited law students, take note. Unfortunately, universities have pandered to the intolerant Left, enabling a politically correct orthodoxy in which competing views are pathologised as “hate speech” akin to bodily harm. Designated victim groups are accorded “safe spaces” to shelter from the injurious thought of oppressor groups. Life is too messy and interesting to be reduced to such a crude ideology. Its narrow formula for “diversity” leaves little room for individual integrity or political dissent.
Psychologist Bettina Arndt has launched a university tour to critique claims of a rape crisis on campus. La Trobe University at first denied permission for the event, then relented. Rowdy protesters rebuffed Ms Arndt’s attempt at dialogue, seeking nothing less than to silence her. At the University of Sydney, student organisers were told they would have to pay for extra security, which proved ineffective against disruption. In Brisbane, the riot squad is on alert for Ms Arndt’s visit to the University of Queensland next week. By accepting the equation between speech and harm, and imposing security costs on student organisations, universities risk giving violent activists an effective veto over speakers who challenge the PC orthodoxy. So far, despite the difficulties, the Arndt tour has gone ahead, but the US practice of “no platforming” shows the trajectory. At the heart of Ms Arndt’s argument is the interpretation and validity of surveys of sexual assault. If she is right, university leaders have been complicit in the creation of an unnecessary climate of fear and gender suspicion on campus. This is precisely the kind of issue where intellectual honesty requires students to be exposed to competing arguments so they can make up their own minds.
Mr French puts it well: “The scholar of the university expects vigorous debate about his or her ideas and that colleagues and students can be pushed to re-examine their own. The creation of better citizens is a by-product of educating students. That is to say, people who can take their place in public civic discourse, help to form public values and public policy, and to choose the officials who manage public affairs. This is not just about creating future leaders but responsible contributors to civic life.”
The response to all this from the Labor Party’s Minister for Universities, Louise Pratt, was to state that there is a sexual assault crisis on campuses and suggest universities need to be careful about allowing nutters like me the opportunity to speak about this issue. So much for free speech.
I also had a call from Dan Tehan, the new Federal Education Minister who is looking into what happened.
Here he is talking to Alan Jones about it: https://www.2gb.com/i-think-the-horse-has-bolted-has-political-correctness-ruined-australian-universities/
The Sydney Morning Herald has just reported on Tehan’s discussions with Vice Chancellors this week about it all. Tehan is now proposing a plan for protesters to have to pay for security rather than the people they are protesting against – here he is on ABC’s Insiders programme this morning. http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/dan-tehan-joins-insiders/10295792. See from 8.39 to the end. I will be sending Tehan my letter to Spence which provides all the evidence about key protesters disrupting the Sydney talk – showing it is quite possible to identify people who gleefully take ownership of the protest. Perhaps he will use this as a test case.
Tehan has also been floating the idea that universities could bolster their commitments to academic freedom and freedom of speech through a charter modelled on the one adopted by the University of Chicago and other US colleges. Among other things, the charter declares: “Although faculty, students and staff are free to criticise, contest and condemn the views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe.”
Brisbane Campus Talk Postponed.
We ended up cancelling my talk, scheduled for next Thursday Sept 27 at the University of Queensland. Annoying I was never told that was mid-semester break and there would be hardly any students on campus. I’ll try again at UQ next year. But we have now locked in the University of Western Australia for Wednesday, October 17 and the ANU looks like being set for some time in October. Both of these promise to be pretty lively!
We’ll post details on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thebettinaarndt/. That’s the best place to go for the latest news about all my activities. I occasionally also post blogs on my website but don’t seem to have much time for that at the moment.
That’s about it for now. Cheers, Tina